Is the media tougher on conservatives than they are on liberals?

A Conservative senator is accusing Ottawa journalists of "hyped-up media stories" in relation to the current spending scandal dogging the upper chamber.

In her defence of the Harper government's handling of the Senate expense scandal on Wednesday, Marjory LeBreton, leader of the government in the Senate, took a couple of jabs at Canada's media.

"I am not surprised," she said about all the attention focused on the Conservative senators..

"I am a Conservative and I know more than most that around this town populated by Liberal elites and their media lickspittles, tut-tutting about our government and yearning for the good old days that we are never given the benefit of the doubt and are rarely given credit for all the good work that we do.

"I repeat, the change the Conservative majority initiated in the Senate by informing the public on a quarterly basis just exactly what their senators are spending has finally shone the light where it has never shone before. Had we not done this, there would be no hyped-up media stories about spending abuses."

[ Related: Stephen Harper says he’s 'frustrated' and 'sorry' about Senate scandal ]

The Globe and Mail editorial board did a great job dressing down LeBreton in a column published Thursday morning.

Canadians want accountability and transparency from their government representatives. They expect parliamentarians to take responsibility and show leadership, not invent enemies and make self-serving claims of victimhood. Unfortunately, this is happening more and more in Canada. Patriotism is being replaced by unsupported allegations of media bias as the go-to refuge from responsibility. It is behaviour that should be beneath public figures in this country.

To be fair to LeBreton, however, there is a feeling within conservative ranks that the mainstream media is tougher on them than they are on liberals.

Right leaning political consultant Gerry Nicholls suggests that the political media in Ottawa tilts to the left.

"This doesn’t necessarily result in outright biased reporting, it does put Conservatives at a comparative disadvantage when it comes to how they and their policies are portrayed," he told Yahoo! Canada News.

"Right now, in my view, the media has a disdain for the Harper government that goes beyond just ideological differences. Simply put, they don’t like Harper, they don’t like his tough management style and they especially don’t like the way he treats the media. And indeed Harper hasn’t exactly tried to build any bridges to the press gallery. This is why the media is taking so much glee in Harper’s Senate difficulties. They smell blood in the water and it has generated a feeding frenzy."

[ Related: Mike Duffy remains defiant while pressure to quit the Senate mounts ]

And it's not just in Ottawa.

Conservative blogger BC Blue (aka Dean Skoreyko) wrote an edgy post comparing media coverage of the alleged Rob Ford crack-smoking video to stories of Jack Layton being found in a seedy massage parlor during a Toronto Police raid.

In light of the alleged Rob Ford crack-smoking video, I got to remembering how the Media Party defended Jack Layton being caught naked by the police in that Toronto whorehouse and came up with a few ‘questions’ for them:

...When will the Media Party start saying about Ford that “he was never arrested or charged” like they did with Layton’s whorehouse visit?

...When will the Media Party start calling it a ‘smear campaign’ against Rob Ford like they did with Layton’s whorehouse visit?

And I’m sure when the CBC makes a Rob Ford movie, they will omit any reference to the crack video same as they did with Layton’s whorehouse visit right?

What do you think? Is the media tougher on right-leaning politicians than they are on 'progressive' politicians?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

(Photo courtesy of the Canadian Press)

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